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12/21/03 - A PROMISE FULFILLED - 2003-12-22

When the U.S.-led coalition liberated Iraq, the Iraqi people were told that the only way Saddam Hussein would return would be as a prisoner. The coalition kept its promise. The former Iraqi dictator is now in custody. U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld says that Saddam must answer to the Iraqi people, and others, for his crimes:

“I think that there are a whole host of people in countries that have reason to feel they have some standing – - to use the legal word –- with respect to Saddam Hussein and how he might or might not be prosecuted for various things. He is being accorded the protection of a P-O-W [Prisoner of War], but he’s not being legally described as one at this stage. He clearly is being treated...with the protections of the Geneva Convention, and is being treated humanely.”

Iraqis, in the words of Issan Fadil, a Baghdad restaurant owner, “are happy that the oppressor is no longer on the loose.” But, says Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, “It’s important not to lose sight of a fundamental fact, namely, that the global war on terror continues”:

“The capture of Saddam Hussein is important, but the war on terror is not about one man and it is not about one country.... We remember the lessons of September 11th, [2001], the day when more than three-thousand innocent people were killed here at home. And we still face terrorists –- terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, and across the world... And the war on terror will not be over until those terrorists have been defeated.”

With the capture of Saddam Hussein, the enemies of a free Iraq lost their leader and they lost any hope of regaining power. “Yet, it should now be clear to all,” said President George W. Bush, “Iraq is on the path to freedom. And a free Iraq will serve the peace and security of America and the world.”